DEFENCEMAN David Phillips believes Sheffield Steelers’ longer than normal pre-season is already beginning to pay dividends.
The Steelers opened their Elite League campaign at the weekend by taking a point in a 4-3 overtime loss at home to defending champions Cardiff Devils before a comprehensive 7-1 win at newcomers Guildford Flames on Sunday.
The results came on the back of the previous weekend, which saw the Steelers win their opening two Challenge Cup Group games.
Tonight sees Dundee Stars visit Ice Sheffield (7.30pm) for their opening league game of the season and, although it marks the third game in four days for the Steelers, Phillips is convinced tiredness will not prove an issue.
“Having a long pre-season will pay off for us in the long run, definitely,” said Phillips.
“It’s good to get that chemistry going and learning each others habits early and, also, helping with the fitness side of things.
“We’re in great shape and I think that will pay dividends down the stretch towards the end of the season.
“Three games in four days is not ideal for anyone really, but you just have to get on with it.
“Dundee are a good team, but then I think that’s the case with everyone this season.”
The Stars, who made a coaching switch in the summer when the departing Marc LeFebvre was replaced by former Hull Stingrays and Manchester Storm coach Omar Pacha, arrive in South Yorkshire on the back of a mixed weekend in the Challenge Cup.
Having beaten Belfast Giants 3-2 in their season-opening game, the Stars fell 7-4 against the same opponents in Northern Ireland on Saturday night.
But they recovered well to hit back with a 7-5 win over Scottish rivals Fife Flyers just 24 hours later.